Changes to LA Conditions of employment (2017/02)
See also our newsletter dated April 2016 : Local Agents in Delegations: Redundancies, zero increase in salaries, limited training, career blockage, what next?
Flash info : WHY DO LOCAL AGENTS SUFFER DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT TO THEIR DETRIMENT ? May 2016
Annual medical check-up for local staff (Flash info September 2016)
Open letter to VP Georgieva - Lettre ouverte
Special Rights for the not so Special Staff Category : LOCAL AGENTS
If the answer is NO to any of the above, then
For years, EEAS/COMM have been shirking their obvious responsibilities by citing that Local Agents are covered under local law and not EU law, yet the EU must ensure minimum standards and aim to go beyond what is seen in local legislation where possible.
On the one hand our institution promotes enshrined EU principles of equal and dignified treatment worldwide and on the other, it fails to guarantee the very same basic principles to its own local staff in Delegations.
USHU would like to draw the attention of the newly appointed COMM and EEAS authorities to the inherent injustices applied to that not so special staff category "LOCAL AGENTS" with the hope that one day soon, positive changes to the working conditions of the Local Agents will be brought about.
Accident insurance cover
Local Agent are covered by the CSISLA regulation for accidents, accidents at work and occupational disease.
ln case of accidents at work and occupational disease, the reimbursement is at 100%.
All surgeries and hospitalisations not related to accident at work or occupational disease are reimbursed at 95 %.
In such case, please do not forget that the LA must declare it within 3 days following the event.
More information can be found in the EU Delegations' Guide.
Give LOCAL AGENTS what they deserve : A DECENT RETIREMENT PACKAGE !
USHU has spearheaded the campaign to raise awareness on this vital LOCAL AGENT issue.
USHU addressed Commissioner Šefčovič (COM) directly in April 2013. USHU addressed Baroness Ashton (EEAS) in June 2013, both in September 2013.
USHU received a wholly INADEQUATE reply from both in October 2013.
Give LOCAL AGENTS what they deserve – A DECENT RETIREMENT PACKAGE !
Dear LOCAL AGENT Colleagues in Delegations,
USHU thanks LOCAL AGENTS in Delegations for their continuing engagement and efforts to ensure that social security after retirement for LOCAL AGENTS remains a topic on everyone's tongues.
USHU is acutely aware that once a LOCAL AGENT retires from a Delegation his/her income dramatically decreases, leaving Local Agents and members of their families facing serious financial challenges.
USHU has repeated raised the issue of coverage after retirement and a correct and proper pension scheme with EEAS & COM Administration, insisting that as a good employer the Commission/EEAS has an obligation vis-à-vis its retired former Local Agent staff who have served the European Union loyally only to be neglected when they most need our support, in their retirement years !
Social security after retirement has been the topic of many discussions in various formats and various instances, but this, unfortunately, has not brought any tangible result so far. Administration argues for budget neutrality over DOING THE RIGHT THING - we all know that such an operation cannot be budgetary neutral – paying pensions of a certain percentage of salary/reimbursing medical bills after retirement is costly and somebody – the employer has to bear the costs. Greater social security for Local Agents after retirement has simply been bluntly refused by the EEAS/COM on all occasions – they even claim that the current cover is adequate – it is only valid whilst in employment and does not cover our Local Agent colleagues during retirement – they are left to the mercy of often entirely inadequate & insufficient national schemes.
The EEAS & Commission claim the current package for Local Agents in Delegations is "generous"—they leave no room for any discussion on additional benefits, no room for ensuring that the EU values we promulgate in the countries where are Delegations are based are put into practice for our fellow colleagues!
USHU is committed to keeping a pension scheme/ greater social security for Local Agents on the Agenda.
At what stage are discussions on the new Salary Method for Local Agents in Delegations?
Technical Group on Remuneration (TGR), 19 March 2014
USHU warmly thanks Delegation staff for their numerous and comprehensive contributions to this debate concerning the proposed new Salary Review Method for Local Agents serving in Delegations.
Your comments and proposals to USHU reflect our understanding and recognition of just how important this issue is for all Local Agents based in EU Delegations; Local staff form the backbone of daily operations and ensure the correct and proper functioning of Delegations in Third Countries together with all other staff categories.
This Wednesday 19/03, the annual Technical Group on LA Remuneration was convened and USHU was active and numerous in this group and raised all your concerns one by one. Aggregate data was provided to USHU and other OSPs on the implementation on the current Method by the EEAS in recent years.
TGR members were also provided with details on the main aspects of the proposed new Method, USHU provided you already with feedback on the previous information session that took place on 27 February.
No new aspects arose in the recent TGR however USHU aims to keep you systematically and regularly informed on the latest developments in this process that we consider critical for LAs all over the globe.
Administration once again reiterated the follwing objectives of the exercise :
The basic philosophy of the Method remains unchanged (to compare LA salaries with those of a number of comparators and in doing so remain among the best employers and thus attract and retain highly qualified and motivated Local Agents ).
HOWEVER - certain modifications foreseen (elimination of the Art 11 option, limit to 7 selected comparators , excluding the World Bank, potential freeze of LAs' salaries when above the market average, etc.) will have a substantial impact on all future salary reviews and an immediate impact on LA remuneration for many colleagues.
While having understanding for the mentioned objectives and the need to adapt to the political and budgetary context, USHU has reiterated that a number of proposals are unacceptable:
The above list is not exhaustive – these are only the main controversial and worrying elements that are rejected by USHU.
USHU representatives have raised the above issues repeatedly.
Local Agents undisputably perform an essential role in delegations and are often the reference for other embassies in third countries and considered a precious resource whose current remuneration package must be protected and not weakened unnecessarily.
USHU believes that other Trade Unions support this position and we aim to join forces with other TUs in order to fully advocate for Local Agents issues during this complex and crucial negotiation process.
New method for salary adjustments - Local Agent Salaries under scrutiny !!
On 27 February, EEAS Administration informally presented the proposed new Method for salary adjustment for LOCAL AGENTS
The current Method has been in place since 2001 and was the outcome of a long process of hard negotiations between the Administration and trade unions at that time and aimed at satisfying the distinct needs of Local Agents in more than 130 Delegations worldwide – USHU confirms that this method despite some limited shortcomings has proved successful over the past TEN years and should act as a baseline for future Methods.
Technically the current Method expired several years ago : USHU reiterates its readiness and willingness to participate actively in all OSP negotiations and Staff Ctee consultations concerning the proposed new Method. Any new method should encompass previous best practice and aim to maintain positive elements – USHU is highly concerned that under the current climate of austerity and budgetary constraints, Local Agents will be subject to an unjustified deterioration in their salary prospects if all elements of the proposed new Method are adopted.
USHU expresses its strong concerns with the following proposed changes:
More than 3,000 Local Agents spread all around the globe will be affected by the new Method.
USHU requests a meaningful dialogue & open discussions on all points raised by OSPs & Staff Reps in relation to the new Method.
A Technical Group on Remuneration1 for Local Agents has been called for 19/03 – the formal text will be submitted to OSPs and Staff Representatives shortly.
USHU invites Delegation Staff to discuss this issue locally and to contact us with any comments/suggestions
1 - USHU Contact Persons for Local Agents Salary Revision : Dimitrije STANKOVIC (COMM) + Victoria DAVYDOVA (EEAS)
Sickness Insurance Scheme for Local Agents: Far from Reality
No Complaints regarding the medical reimbursement have been introduced by the staff since Feb 2013. We are not sure if it's Good or Bad. CSISLA rules are so strict that the local agents no longer submit their complaints or even their reimbursement requests.
We invite all colleagues to fill up the attached form and submit it to the administration in case they are not satisfied with your medical reimbursements. This will enable us to formally discuss your case during the CSISLA joint committee meetings.
Still no decision has been taken regarding the Affiliation of Working Spouses to the CSISLA. We proposed to administration to accept the coverage for a working spouse based on the salary of a local agent of Group IV – Step 1.
Reference hospitals are not chosen in a transparent manner. Some delegations have even been forbidden to use hospitals used by expats as reference hospitals.
The list of tests in the Annual Medical Tests has been drastically reduced important checks such as cervical, breast and prostate cancer screening are not included in the annual medical check-up list.
We urge the administration to think beyond the budget lines. The preventive health check-ups are not only in the interest of an individual but also in the interest of the service. The research is showing that it’s more cost-effective to invest in preventive health practices.
Cash Reserves in the CSISLA fund have been growing steadily. In 2012, the fund topped 16 million Euros. It is becoming increasingly difficult to understand why administration is just interested in piling the cash reserves and doesn't want to improve upon the scheme. This fund has been built by contributions of our colleagues across the world and must be used for their welfare. In majority of the third-world countries, no social security is provided by the state and the local agents retire without a Post-Retirement Medical Coverage.
It's time the administration wakes up and starts thinking about the welfare of the staff who have sincerely worked for them for so many years.
Local Agents Action Group
A Local Agents Action Group has been created, which will :
- Draft comprehensive papers about the situation of LAs in EU Delegation and
propose remedial actions
LOCAL AGENTS IN THE SPOTLIGHT - FUTURE RESTRICTED CAREER DEVELOPMENT AND REDUCED BENEFITS
STAFF REGULATION REFORM CONCERNS NOT ONLY OFFICIALS AND CONTRACT AGENTS -
LOCAL AGENTS WILL BE AFFECTED !!
Dear Colleagues Local Agents!
You are certainly aware of the discussions in Brussels between the European Commission, the EP and the Council about a further "reform" - the reality is CUTS - of the Staff Regulation. You may well think that this does not concern you, because the SR fixes the rights and obligations for Officials and Contract Agents only. This sounds logical, but true is what follows:
As soon as the "reform" is concluded, your LA rights will be the next set of rules to be led to the slaughterhouse.
In recent meetings in Brussels it has been announced that substantial modifications for LA will be tackled, too, and soon. First of all, EEAS envisages a "reform" of the Framework Rules, in reality they want to suppress them all together. "Simplifications" are to be expected in the working conditions, e.g. raise of working hours from 37.5 to 40, suppression of reclassification exercise, stoppage of severance grant (for newly recruited), a new method for salary adoption (certainly not more favorable!). Not mentioned but likely to be on the table are reimbursement of medical expenses, travel expenses (in some countries), family allowances and and and....
All this can only be avoided by a massive and united resistance against the decision makers in Brussels. And that is why Officials and Contract Agents need your solidarity right now, and that Officials and Contract Agents will in return show solidarity with you in a very close future.
JOIN THE STRIKE ON 26 June - IN YOU OWN INTEREST AND IN THE INTEREST OF ALL !
Message from a Local Agent to VP/HR C. Ashton
Dear Sir and Madam,
Unfortunately as a Local Agent COMM staff member based in a Delegation, I was, along with several colleagues, unable to participate in the celebration; moreover, to be honest, I completely ignore what was the occasion.
Indeed we are all highly concerned by the proposed changes to the Staff Regulations which will lead to a substantial deterioration of the current working conditions of Officials/Temporary Agents/Contract Agents and Local Agents serving in Third Countries.
Most of my colleagues and I fail to understand how the proposed modifications to the Staff Regulation (i.e., reducing annual leave from the current 42 to eventually 24 days by 2016; shifting the administrative burden to jobholders with regard to the new housing policy in Delegations, etc.) will improve the functioning of Delegations.
It is most likely, on the contrary, that these and other proposed measures will make working in the Delegations less attractive/ less economically viable option for many colleagues in the future.
Thanks for taking our 'local' voices into consideration on the negotiations.
Best regards, saludos cordiales con mis respetos,
Pour un système de sécurité sociale digne de ce nom
La mise en place d’un système de sécurité sociale digne de ce nom avec notamment le bénéfice d’une pension de retraite décente est l’une des plus grandes préoccupations des agents locaux employés dans les Délégations de l’UE.
Amplifiant la demande de plusieurs Délégations, l’USHU a organisé le 24 février 2011 à Bruxelles une manifestation visant à appeler l’attention sur cette situation.
La manifestation, précédée d’un appel aux représentants locaux du personnel, a été soutenue par la Majorité syndicale dont fait partie l’USHU et a finalement obtenu le soutien unanime des syndicats ! Beaucoup de collègues en Délégations ont organisé des manifestations pour marquer leur adhésion à cette action. La Majorité syndicale a demandé l’ouverture d’une concertation entre l’Administration et les syndicats pour donner des suites pratiques à cette revendication vitale.